Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bit By Bit, More People Being Let In

The biggest news out of Italy the past couple of days has been the San Siro stadium being given the go-ahead to open it's doors for upcoming Champions League matches. Inter's game against Valencia will only be seen live by 36,000, a number that includes 1,800 traveling supporters. The March 7th Milan v. Celtic game will also be played in front of a below capacity crowd, though that number could climb above 40,000.

Meanwhile, it appears that the Italy v. Scotland European Championship qualifier in Bari will go ahead as planned. The San Nicola stadium has cleared all the security requirements and from Sunday on, will be allowed to field matches in front of capacity crowds. The Scottish FA is still awaiting a final confirmation for the March 28th match, but they fully expect to play the game in Bari.

Though it was decreed that night games would be off limits for the month of February, not for the first time, the Italian authorities have backed off and allowed matches on the weekend of the 24th to be played under the lights. The initial thought behind the "no night game" rule was that it would be easier to patrol and keep order during the day than at night, with some games starting as late as 8:30pm. But, this being Italy, the government's bark seems to always be worse than it's bite.

Lastly, it wouldn't be calcio if someone wasn't up in arms and claiming to be a victim. This week it's the city of Catania. After having it's stadium banned from use through the month of June, the city's town council has announced that it will sue the Italian FA. I wouldn't count of Catania holding onto that fourth Champions League spot.

San Siro gets Champions League all clear [Setanta Sports]
Scotland face Italy in Bari [ITV]
Night games return early [Channel 4]
Catania Fans Won’t Have to Find a New Place to Riot if the City Fathers Have Anything to Say About It [The Offside]


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